Old Blue Eyes On My Mind

"Frank Sinatra ... Old Blue Eyes"

“Frank Sinatra … Old Blue Eyes”

Does what I wrote in the past still count? Or once written and read through, could it lose some of its impact? These are my thoughts as I wake up over my coffee. “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, is playing repeatedly in my head, even now. I dreamt about Frank Sinatra, and each time I changed positions in bed, he was singing another one of his hits. Old Blue Eyes himself.

Last night I watched the recording I’d made of HBO’s two-part documentary about Frank Sinatra, “All Or Nothing At All”. I stayed up until 5:30 a.m. as I couldn’t resist watching the entire production. It was four hours well spent. The footage and video coverage brought home the enormity of the vision he’d dreamed about from the time he was a teenager. One that would touch us all. His strong work ethic, dogged determination and hard work, sometimes to the point of exhaustion, was the price he gladly paid in order to reach the stars, becoming a living legend of the twentieth century. When my attention has been captured, I morph into a human sponge to absorb all the details.

Beginning with his difficult entry into this world, baby Frank (weighing over twelve pounds!), nearly didn’t make it. He suffered a broken ear drum and the doctor who was called in to help, most likely used high forceps to pull him from his mother’s womb. He was left with a few scars but his grandmother was a hero for splashing him with cold water, then patting and massaging him to encourage him to survive. We’re so glad she did!

For the music lovers out in the world, Frank Sinatra’s hand in his song arrangements, the motion picture industry, and his inclusiveness of all people, regardless of their ethnic background, when it wasn’t the popular thing to do, is a story you won’t want to pass up. I know I’ll watch it again for the history I wasn’t taught in school, but mostly to review and watch his story unfold. It is personal and thrilling as well. I don’t want give away more than his precious beginnings in life. See for yourself this man who impressed and influenced the world, long before Elvis, or The Beatles did. His impact was huge and is long-lasting. You’ll be amazed at how he gets under your skin.

Copyright © 2015 “Sleeping Kitten – Dancing Dog!” All rights reserved.

We Now Stream Netflix

We used to pay $9.99 per month for this service. Many times the DVDs lay around on the console before we ever got around to watching them, or countless times we sent them back unwatched, because we had already seen the movie or series on the television. But still, it was better than going to the video chain store and mulling about, going up and down the aisles. I was glad to shop this way before there was the idea of Netflix, but everyone progresses.

My sister told me for the past two years, that she had been streaming live feed from her computer to her television. Her TV screen is her computer monitor. This sounded too difficult for me to understand to try to do this on my own. I remember I am not on my own … in steps Joe, hero of the day. This May, we got our first flat-screen TV, we also decided to get a blue-ray player. I still don’t know why, but never mind. when Joe turned it on, the display showed up and I noticed some icons on it. Netflix was one and the others I didn’t recognize. What is Pandora … do you know? Next I contacted Netflix and upgraded our account to streaming DVDs. No more waiting for the postal carrier. Guess what. It’s only $7.99 a month!

Many of my readers already know that I am a great lover of the UK, BBC detective and comedy programs that are broadcast on PBS and BBC. After negotiating the tiny arrows (I admit to a few mishaps and had to begin all over again, repeating my email and password). Finally we were signed in.  We searched the titles offered within the categories, and as we scrolled through them, I felt as if we’d had been given a treasure trove. A few minutes later, we found “Luther”.

We truly fell down the rabbit hole last Saturday afternoon. Joe and I watched all ten episodes of “Luther”, one right after the other! It was three in the morning Sunday before we were done. Joe did fall asleep a quarter of the way through the last one, but next morning, while enjoying our Sunday brunch, consisting of, crispy fried bacon, cheddar and spinach omelets, hazelnut coffee, strawberries w/balsamic dressing, we watched the tenth show in the series. We celebrated with a cup of butter pecan ice cream topped with a small drizzle of chocolate sauce.

We researched the lead actor whose name is so different. It is Idris Elba, which was actually shortened from, Idrissa Akuna. His name means “Immortal”. We read on to discover that this first-rate actor has been on the television about two decades. He recently played the role of the captain of the ship in the movie, “Prometheus”. We saw the movie a month ago, and he didn’t use his British accent. He was in other shows I have viewed and I still had no idea I had seen him prior to this series. Wow. I’ll never forget him now that’s for certain.

“Luther”. It is a psychological crime drama that will keep your eyes glued to the screen to find out where DCI John Luther will take his audience next. We highly recommended “Luther”, and BBC America is going to co-produce the third season. The first two seasons won numerous awards and the writers, directors and producers promise the new season is impeccably written, directed and acted. We can’t wait!

* photograph of dvd courtesy of BBC

False Advertising About Food On The Menu

Before we went out to dine tonight , I watched a new commercial for a neighborhood chain restaurant. I love their salad bar and I was eager to try their new pasta dish.

This is what the menu touts:

Lobster Carbonara

Tender lobster blended with a rich Parmesan cream sauce and tossed with peas, bacon, and served over tender linguini pasta.
 
What I got was pasta with tiny chewy pieces of what I hoped was lobster.

I promptly handed my dish back to my lovely server and without apology advised her that the lobster, if indeed that is what it was, was inedible. Dont’cha just hate it when they lure you in (on an empty stomach no less) to be tricked by their false advertising? Well I do. I refuse to pay $17.00 for food that I know I could prepare for $3.99 and it would taste like ambrosia.

I was told that it would be remade right away and sorry for the mix-up. I had ordered it with the express instructions please do not to over cook my seafood as I do not eat it that way. What is the point of ruining food? It’s a waste of time, effort, money and you risk the customer being unhappy, displeased and also losing their future patronage.

I returned to their wonderful salad bar, filled a freshly washed salad plate, returned to our booth and commenced eating. I knew what was yet to come. After ten minutes I remarked to Joe it was funny that the manager on duty had not been over to our table yet. This is their usual method of operation, having the manager come over to find out why food is returned to the kitchen. By the time fifteen minutes had passed and I had eaten another salad (I was just about full at this juncture), the manager appeared. We have spoken numerous times in the past and she immediately recognized me without batting an eyelash.

The manager proceeded to tell me that they were going to make the dish again but this time, they would use real lobster meat from the tail (what did they use the first time?), and did I still want the dish. I ordered it didn’t I? I replied politely that yes, if they were going to cook it properly so it would be tender (as advertised) and that it wouldn’t cost any additional money, then yes, I would love to try it. We smiled at each other and presto … three minutes later I was tasting the delicious dish that I had originally been promised, forty-five minutes previously. She stayed close-by to make certain it was right. I gave her the two-thumbs up and she breathed a sigh of relief.

Why must they lie? Why not just advertise a great salad bar and take your chances that the item on their menu might turn out right or wrong? It should not be left to me to have to send back ill-prepared food, but I do and I refuse to apologize for it.

Movie Review … The Help

We went to see a fabulous film tonight after dinner … not the norm … but we deserved time relaxing and distracting our minds from recent events. But I digress … back to this movie.

It surely grabbed my attention, taught me quite a number of facts and showed me a different perspective than the one I had stored away inside my head. You know, you perceive a thing a particular way and then find out that what you knew was just the frosting on the cake? Well this movie gave that side of things. It was well written and it was told with grace, honesty, integrity, and an intensity of feeling we clearly did not expect. The coming attractions rope in their audience with the lighter issues and laughter. It has a good amount of that as well, but it was true gripping drama, told by women, for women. The actresses gave stunning performances and it is the kind of story that will remain with me for some time.

We both gave “The Help” Two Thumbs Up and an A+. This might start off as a sleeper, but mark my words, it’s going to be nominated for many awards. I want to read the novel.

** Note: I didn’t want to give anything away so if you’re like me and want to see it without bias, then I suggest not clicking the link. 

Oogavé … We Like!

I received a message one day, about a month ago, from a young lady representing this company, Oogavé. She asked if she could ship me an assortment of soft drinks to try in return for my opinion on how they tasted. I decided to agree since I really needed to find a way to wean myself from all those high fructose beverages I loved to drink.

They arrived two weeks ago and between my husband and I, we drank them up in about ten days. They make these flavors: Grapefruit, Root Beer, Ginger Ale, Key Lime, Watermelon and Cola. I liked the four flavors that I got to drink. I did not try the Key Lime or the Cream, as I had packed them in my husband’s lunch. Continue reading

Rocking Dinner Rolls

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I have to tell you how wonderful these taste. Try this recipe from Sugar Pies yourself and wrap your family round your little finger. They’ll be begging for more. Check out my post on Half Hour Meals and get the recipe there. You will be very happy you did!

The Golden Globes

Tonight I watched The 68th Golden Globe Awards. I thought it was good, with the exception of a poor performance given by the host Ricky Gervais who seemed bent on putting people down from the beginning of the event up until his parting shot of the ceremony and I quote: “And I want to thank God for making me an atheist.”

This is what Tom Hanks and Tim Allen said as they reached the stage microphone:  Mr. Hanks said, “I can recall back when Ricky Gervais was a slightly chubby but very kind comedian.” Mr. Allen chimed in, “Neither of which he is now.” I feel they both delivered their stern words to an appreciative audience, including the ones at home.

I will say that while I have long enjoyed Ricky Gervais as a comedian and actor, his last HBO special (the one where he shows off his new svelte and muscular body) was hard for me to watch. He has changed and become so cynical and downright mean at times. I was really looking forward to being entertained by him tonight. Sadly, I along with many others, was just disappointed. I want the old Ricky Gervais back!

We’ve been discussing this on BlogCatalog. You can join in there.

The Social Network

I don’t know all of the players names, nor the characters, except Mark and Eduardo. Their friendship is what captivated me and the flash-fast minds these apparent geniuses possess. The rate of technical speak they were throwing around had me holding onto the armrests of my theatre seat. The actors did their jobs … even the extras were perfect. I know many people would only see a bunch of college kids partying and really involved in their own popularity. I saw much more.

The underlying feel that stayed with me was the bare-boned fact that Mark felt the twins mistreated him by not inviting him in through the front door of their elite club. They wanted the power of his brains and the knowledge to be the roots of their ideas. Ideas they couldn’t and never did implement. I am in accord with Mark that he thumbed his nose at them after stringing them along, instead of giving them a flat refusal to work for (not with) them. I totally got it.

The fact that Mark was brutally honest, which equated to mental cruelty and devaluation of first his girlfriend, and then his best friend, was more of a defensive gesture that they did not understand. Since I don’t want to spoil the movie for you, I strongly urge you to go see it. It is fast-paced, intelligent, clever and I cannot get it out of my head. I was impressed with the writing and the story. I wanted more, even after the credits were rolling. There can be a sequel in another year or two and I bet it will be as well received as this one has been. It isn’t just a college movie. Oh No. This is a Social Networking movie and not only is it chock-full of interesting data, it is history in the making!

Rating A+ (I will be seeing this a few more times on the big screen)

The Legacy of Buck Bannister

Over the past year I have been a site manager, coordinator and food writer for Half Hour Meals. During this time I have met cooks, chefs, cookbook authors, culinary instructors, culinary students, food radio and TV personalities, other food writers, and people just wanting to find good things to eat. They hail from around the globe and because of the different hours I keep, and the different times these people (many from different time zones) keep, we have been able to hook-up and talk about food, generations, ancestors, traditions, farming, gardening, preserving, religious and cultural cuisines, plus all sorts of spices, markets and bazaars. I feel very honored and privileged to be in the company of these fine individuals, many of whom are bloggers, just like me.

Also over these twelve months, I have watched these people grow and branch out, turning their love for food and cooking into something so valuable that others want to have a little bit of them in their homes, too. One of these personalities is a young man by the name of Buck Bannister. We immediately became food friends and it wasn’t long before I discovered I was trying his recipes and tasting the goodness he has called “Sugar Pies”. No, he doesn’t just bake pies, he prepares all types of food, desserts, drinks, and he does it all drawing on his Southern roots, plus a whole lot of help from his Mama and his ancestors, too. He adds that special ingredient called love and you can taste it in every bite. I know, because I have eaten his food.

When I found out that he had made a compilation of some of his favorites, I thought I had to get a copy of his first cookbook, because in my heart, I know he will be writing many more food tributes to what he knows, what he will create, and in honor of all the people who taught him to cook. He is a Southern Gentleman, a really fabulous cook & baker, he has a heart of gold, and I’m glad we are friends.

Please visit him on his website Sugar Pies and see the difference quality can bring when it’s presented so sweetly. Congratulations Buck on your first endeavor in bringing us “Sweet Decadence”.

Here is my HHM review of his recipe: “Gert’s Mama’s Pound Cake”

Inscription:  Theresa,Thanks so much for the kind words and support when I was starting Sugar Pies! Your friendship has meant so much to me during this adventure! Bon Appetit, Buck Bannister

ISBN-13: 978-1-452-87120-2

ISBN-10: 1452871205

Simply Good

Over the past year or so, Simply Orange Juice Company, has branched (originally with Simply Orange), out with Simply Grapefruit, Simply Lemonade, Simply Limeade, Simply Apple and now Simply Lemonade with Raspberry. They are delicious, refreshing and when chilled and poured into a tall glass filled with crushed ice, can be stunningly appealing. I give these drinks and their company two thumbs up. I could possibly forego soda pop in preference for them. Now for me, this is really saying something.

Martha Stewart’s CupCakes

Martha Stewart’s cookbook, “CUPCAKES”, has to be the most comprehensive book about cupcakes I have ever seen. I purchased this book ten months ago and placed it with the few cookbooks I own. Because I was engrossed with many things over the past year,  the other day  was the first chance I had to discover the contents. I decided to take a good long look. While I was turning the pages and looking over recipes I was amazed by the extent and in-depth variety of this subject. It was like a cupcake dream come true.

Everything Martha does, she does it to the best of her ability. Some of you will complain that there are many people who for her work behind the scenes, and I understand this. However, it is Martha’s approval they need, her final stamp to brand it her own. If her name goes on a product you may rest assured that it is top notch and of high quality.

I urge you to get a copy of this book for your cookbook shelves, because you’ll never need another and you will be ever so glad you did. For the cooks and bakers in your life, you wouldn’t go wrong giving this as a gift to be treasured for decades.

Julie and Julia

Even though I have had a love and feel a true affinity for this woman ever since she blundered onto the TV instructional screen, I hold her in high regard and esteem. Julia Child is a food icon! She was a woman determined to dogmatically present her love of French food to the American audience, but thankfully her erstwhile sweetness always emanated from her very, if large, being. She was a lady who reached through the tube to teach us that, yes, we also could do these things. We could prepare true French cuisine for our families, too.

We went to the cinema when this film was released this past summer, at our neighborhood theatre. Even my husband laughed spontaneously and was equally delighted by the performances of Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. Miss Adams played, Julie Powell, the blogger genius, who cooked her way through Julia Child’s book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Ms. Streep made me forget that I wasn’t really seeing Julia Child. She was this beloved icon and no one could ever touch her performance. Meryl is mesmerizing to watch, no matter what her role, and I have watched almost all of them. Amy brought such an earthiness and believability to her performance, that I immediately liked the real Julie Powell and could easily identify with her longing to write, her love of Julia Child and her cooking these recipes.

Stanley Tucci was a perfectly cast Paul Child and his and Julia’s relationship made this Dame real and even more lovable. Their mutual affection was inspiring and delightful to watch. I never really knew much about Mr. Child other than the fact that he died about fifteen years ago. It was enlightening to see a glimpse into their personal lives.

Julie Powell’s’ husband, Eric, was portrayed by actor, Chris Messina. I think I have seen him in some other films, but am not sure. He was very supportive in his role and was quite good, too.

My eldest sister gifted me with this DVD for Christmas and I watched it Monday evening. I teared up at the end …  again and I fully intend to view it later this evening. When a movie is this good, I must watch it again and again, to be certain I have missed nothing.

This is a film worth watching and performances worthy of winning awards. I highly recommend Julie and Julia and want to tell Julie Powell, thank you, thank you for writing such a great book.

My next eldest sister, told me when she dropped by Monday night to pick up some Pistachio Floating Island dessert, that one time, while she was working for Amtrak, she sat next to Julia Child on a train trip! Next to her! She even assisted her by carrying her bags. Well, what do you know! Wow!

A Book Recommendation

Mary_Magdalene_and_SonI just finished a novel my sister insisted I check out from my local library.  The library is one of the largest state of the art facilities that I have ever seen.  After filling out my paperwork for my new card we discovered the first book, and then the newest book in the series written by, Kathleen McGowan.

The first of what I believe is to be a trilogy is titled, “The Expected One.” It is full of biblical history and many of the heroine’s own visions.  I found it hard to put down and literally zoomed through it.  Last night I began the second book which is titled, “The Book of Love.” It takes up with characters from the first book and reading them together makes it easier to keep the story fresh in my mind.  There seems to be a lot of worthwhile information and even I could feel that many of the points rang true deep within my own spirit.  There are words spoken which I have known since I was a young child.  A strong sense of knowing … even when the teachers never taught these truths.

I highly suggest giving this author and her books a read.  She kept me turning the pages and wanting more.  Kind of like excellent French Pastries … each bite keeps you wanting more.  Did I say that much of the story takes place in France?


Banging On Boxes

rv_zazu1One of the finest albums I have ever had the pleasure of listening to repeatedly is Rosie Vela’s, “ZaZu.” One of her songs talks about banging on boxes and it is precisely what I have been up to for the past ten days.  I cannot express just how much her music has meant to me.  I place her right up there with The Beatles and all of the other favorites I have clung to musically.  Having been a professional vocalist and earning my bread and butter performing through the years, I seldom actually purchased the albums of these artists, unless they struck a perfect chord within my being.  I can only describe to you that her songs really move me.

Over the last few days, I have gone through music CD’s and tapes (they’re mostly for show, I barely play them.)  But in the basement in an old, once flood soaked suitcase were albums that at one point in time, I spent my hard earned dollars in procuring.  Many had been destroyed but some were salvageable.  Not certain what I will do with them, but still there are about ten left.  

I have purchased CD’s to replace many of my favorite artists, but out of all of them, ZaZu is my favorite.  I used to say to my Matthew, “What is she saying!”  He sent me an email with the lyrics to her album around 2001 and I must admit to have been singing the wrong words to many of her tunes.  I would look at the lyrics while listening to the CD and think, “Is this what she is really singing?”  Her lyrics are profound, witty, clever, romantic, full of longing … some of the kinds I most enjoy singing, and memorable.

I took her along with me in 2003 to London and listened to her with my headset, whilst I walked the streets from the hotel to the night club.  Her music is the perfect companion.  If you take if from me you will purchase her CD, listen to it repeatedly and the music I promise you, will seep down into your soul.  You might have to do as I did and look up the lyrics because that is half the fun of listening to this great artist.  She is also a model and I do believe the guys from Steely Dan produced this album.  She is a songstress, a raw talent and I really want her to write and release new material.  She is either dating or now married to one of the band members of the group ELO (Electric Light Orchestra.)

She is a friend of mine and a very cherished one at that.  Her haunting songs will touch you, just savor them and you too will find delight.  I most highly recommend the ZaZu album.

Hot Fuzz

Hot_fuzz, originally uploaded by Theresa111.

I have just watched a rather curious movie called ‘Hot Fuzz.” I had never heard of this movie title before and since there wasn’t anything else on HBO that I hadn’t seen previously, I decided to give it a go.

Not wanting to give anything away I became involved, quite by accident, while passing the time until Joe came home from work. As the movie progressed I found myself inexplicably drawn to the two main characters and their unlikely, budding relationship.  There was a ton of British humor for which I love so well, plus some wicked and outrageous ones too.

Once the other characters were introduced I became a vivid watcher. The scenes were more humorous and the plot actually thickened. All done so cleverly that by the time the phone rang and my husband said he was turning onto our street, I hushed him and almost threw him off the line.

Since it is on again for a repeat encore performance, I shall share this marvelous film as our date movie. I highly recommend this very good, mystery, with graphic scenes and some colorful language. The action was a nice surprise. Very well done and I give it an A+.